I've lived in northern British Columbia for nine years(!!!!) but I'm still often flabbergasted by the scale of things here. Back in California I thought nothing of throwing the kids in the car and heading off on an adventure by myself. When my boys were 5, 3, and 1, I took a daytrip from Santa Cruz to Yosemite with little more than a tank of gas and a pack of sandwiches.
Since I've lived here I've been cowed into carefulness. The woods are too big, the bears too ferocious, and too many people--careful people, capable people--die in accidents when they're enjoying the great outdoors.
So I was thrilled when friends asked my daughter and me to accompany them to Exstew Falls the other day. I'd heard about the falls for years, although no one seemed to know quite where they were, and I wanted to finally get to see them. I went online, found a YouTube video someone else made about their trip, took note of landmarks and directions, and set out happily in my Honda Fit on the appointed morning. I don't know how many times during the next few hours I was thankful I hadn't gone alone.
I love Brussels Sprouts, and as I've said earlier, I had no idea you could just grow them in your garden. I spent a decade in Santa Cruz, California, where farmers grow them on the cliffs beside the ocean up Highway One, and I'd always supposed it took that exactly climate to be able to grow them correctly.
Happily, I was wrong! They grow just fine in my own garden here in Northern BC. And to prove it, I harvested some, steamed them, slathered them with butter and dill, and ate them yesterday as part of a harvest day attempt to process (and eat) everything in my garden that was piling up. They were yummy. The only question I need to answer is that they're supposed to be harvested after a frost, and there's no way the ones I picked yesterday would make it that long. I either need to plant later, or do something differently. Or maybe freeze the sprouts before we eat them? Not sure, but will find out.
I also harvested a bunch of cayenne peppers off a plant we bought this spring at the farmer's market. I guess I didn't really believe they were cayenne peppers.…
So, the sad news we came home to last week was that one of our chickens didn't make it through the summer. Unfortunately, the coop they boarded in while we were gone didn't have a roof, and we hadn't clipped our chickens' wings. One of them flew the coop, and was never seen again. RIP Sammy.
The happier news is that the other three are all in good health, and began to lay eggs! The family presented us with our chickens' very first egg (carefully blown and preserved) and my daughter has placed it in a handmade felted "nest" on our mantlepiece. Each chicken is currently laying an egg per day, usually between 8 am and noon. My daughter loves to hunt for them in their pen and brings them in daily. We are all very impressed with our chickens.
In other good news, we're feasting almost daily one salads from our garden, peas galore, and I'm waiting for one strange squash to ripen enough to pick. (If only I knew what it was, and when to pick it!)
In very exciting news, my brussels sprounts plants have survived, and I believe I'll actually get to eat brussels sprouts later…
A couple of days ago I posted about our new chicken coop/run attached to our small shed out back. Since he was working on the building already - jacking it up and installing the coop and run - my husband decided to go ahead and just turn the rest of the shed into a greenhouse/potting shed while he was at it.
He took off all the wood along one wall, and voila! - an old set of windows we've been holding onto for about six years miraculously fit perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. Since the shed itself isn't exactly "square" anymore, the windows don't line up perfectly, either, but that's okay. The first of several greenhouses and cold frames we've planned, it's great to open up the space to put our tomato plants. Terrace can be a cloudy, raining place at times, and tomatoes here need a boost of heat that only a greenhouse can give.
There's hope for tomatoes this summer, yet. We had a number of cherry tomato plants growing already. For father's day I got hubby a beefsteak one. We'll see what we get...
We finally finished the chickens' coop and run. It's embarrassing how long it took to get that done, and even more embarrassing to admit how long our poor chickens lived in a cardboard box in my office!
But they're happy now, and I'm happy they're out of here. Don't get me wrong - I love my chickens, but the smell was getting a little intense! After much (much!) debate, we decided to hang our run off the back of the smaller two outbuildings that came with this house. That meant my husband had to haul out all the wood we'd been storing in there, and he figured as long as he was cutting holes in the walls, he might as well do a complete reno on the shed.
First he had to jack it up and level the building. Next he installed the "coop" part of the chicken coop inside the building and made a door to the outside. (I need to go back and get more photos, I'm realizing). We can shut this door up tight for nighttimes, then open it up again in the morning. The door opens down and acts like a ramp for the chickens to…
Yesterday I wrote about my trip to Prince Rupert, BC, with two good friends last week. I live in Terrace, BC, which is a small town about 500 miles due north of Vancouver. It's a small logging town that's in transition and is also somewhat of a base for many mining and natural resource projects around northern British Columbia. Prince Rupert is 1.5 hours away on the coast of Canada.
I left off after our hike on the Butze Rapids Trail. Exhausted, hot and hungry, the three of us made our way into Prince Rupert to eat lunch at the Crest Hotel. We'd ducked into the hotel before our hike to reserve my friend's favorite table. Front and center on the wall of windows looking out over the water, it's the perfect place for watching tankers, tour boats and tugs.
We made it to the hotel just in time and ordered our meals.
A week ago last Saturday I drove with two friends to Prince Rupert, a town about an hour and a half away from Terrace. Prince Rupert is a port town, that is becoming a major player in shipping from North America to China. We didn't get a chance to see the container port, but I'd love to stop by there next time.
Instead, we took our time driving along Highway 16 and taking in the spectacular mountain sights. It was a rare sunny day along the Skeena River, and I got some spectacular photos.
One stop we made was to check out a painting apparently made by First Nations people over a hundred years ago. Trees grew up in front of it, covering it from view until it was "Rediscovered" in 1950 and the trees were cut down to expose it to view. One of my friends knew approximately where it was, so we were driving fairly slowly when we passed the rock outcropping where the face is painted. Just as we passed it I glanced in my rear view mirror, which perfectly framed the red face staring back at me. A quick screech of tires and we pulled off…
I just had my first radio interview on CBC Radio Daybreak North - speaking with Betsy Trumpener. I think it went just fine, although I was certainly nervous!
I met Betsy last year at the Terrace Writer's Conference and had a great time with her during the weekend program. She is hilarious, a terrific writer, and really has the knack of making people feel at home.
We talked about my audio book business and about The Cowboy's E-Mail Order Bride. She did a great job with the questions and actually, it was easier than I thought it would be.
I can't decide whether or not to listen to the recorded version they have online. I probably should, to learn from my mistakes, but....I don't want to.
Maybe tomorrow. :) I'll post a link when it lands on their webpage later.
We spent Easter morning at the Spotted Horse Nursery here in Terrace, BC, where Kathy Jackson and her family put on an amazing Easter egg hunt every year. Somehow the weather is always beautiful and today was no exception. It was cool when we arrived but warmed up during the morning and by afternoon we were in shorts.
While we waited for the bell to ring to start the Easter egg hunt, I went and checked out the horses who were definitely waiting for treats of their own and checking out all the kids ready to run the minute the hunt officially started.
You can see the grounds in this picture. By the time the hunt began there were kids everywhere, tiny to big. I’m amazed every year how well behaved the kids are. No one touches an egg until it’s time, and I often see bigger kids being very sweet and helpful with the little ones. One funny thing the Jacksons do is fill a big wooden box with straw and hide eggs in the straw. There are holes cut all over the box so that kids can reach in and feel around until they find an egg. Long past when…Read More ->
Terrace, British Columbia is a town of about 10,000 people situated along the Skeena River in northwestern, B.C. Â Surrounded by mountains, it is breathtakingly beautiful throughout the year, but I especially love the summer nights that stay light past 11 pm.
I'd never heard of Terrace before I met my husband in California, and I never suspected I'd make my home here, but the longer I stay, the more it grows on me. I took this picture during Christmas break last year on a beautiful, sunny morning. Moment by moment as the sun rose, the shadows on the mountains changed.
This photo was taken at one of my favorite spots; the old cemetery, which looks north upon this mountain range, and south over the whole river valley. It's hard to make out the valley in this photo, but I had to capture the sunrise, since I missed it on the Solstice (a cloudy day). Year after year I watch the sun come up on December 21st. You don't have to get up early here to catch the sunrise on Solstice morning; it comes up at about 9:53 am here in Terrace.Read More ->
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